Lonely Planet: Scotland is a must-visit for 2014
Scotland has been rated the third best place to visit in the world in 2014. Travel guide Lonely Planet reckons Scotland's "jam-packed schedule of world-class events" will make it "the place to be" next year.
The small UK country took third place just behind Brazil and Antarctica.
Why Scotland is the place to visit
In 2014, Scotland has a host of exciting events taking place.
- The Commonwealth Games 2014 plays out in Glasgow next summer.
- The Ryder Cup is being held at Gleneagles.
- Next year is Scotland's Year of Homecoming.
On top of this, Lonely Planet pointed to Scotland’s popular Highland Games and the Edinburgh festivals as events that will draw travellers to Scotland in 2014.
The top-selling travel guide described Edinburgh as "the most gothic city outside Transylvania" and encouraged travellers to "take the high road to Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Cairngorms National Park and fall in love with the landscape that inspired poet Robert Burns".
What the experts say about Scotland
According to Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 contributor Tom Hall, Scotland’s “buzzing cities and stunning scenery” make it a worthy contender for the number three in the world slot.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, is obviously delighted by the Lonely Planet accolade. He said: "To have this commendation from Lonely Planet is a fantastic seal of approval.
"From the bells bringing in our year-long Homecoming celebrations on Hogmanay, to the biggest ever sporting events to take place in Scotland, 2014 could be the greatest ever chance for our country to be seen as a globally recognised, must-visit destination for many years to come."
Five great places to go in Scotland in 2014
We choose our top five spots to head to when you visit Scotland. Of course, there are hundreds more but this is a selection.
The location for the mountain biking events at the Commonwealth Games 2014, Cathkin Braes, near Glasgow, also boasts some of the best views of the city. Take your bike or hire a bike and try some of the trails at Cathkin Braes
. Or just go for a walk and the views.
Conic Hill at Balmaha is a short hill climb with an amazing panorama of Loch Lomond from the top. There are some steep sections but nothing too demanding and there are plenty of places to stop on the way up for great views. Conic Hill is also on the Wet Highland Way. Why not make 2014 your year to walk the West Highland Way
Ride the Cairngorm Mountain Railway
. The funicular railway reveals a fabulous vista of the superb Cairngorms National Park from 3,500ft.
Possibly the most beautiful beach in Scotland (although there are dozens of stunningly beautiful beaches to choose from), Sandwood Bay in Sutherland is one to see. The five to six mile walk in isn’t challenging, although you should be prepared for a day of hiking in and out.
Climb a Munro:
With 281 Munros (these are Scottish mountains with a summit of more than 3000ft) to choose from, deciding which one to climb is hard. However, we’re thinking about people who want a lot of views for not too much of a challenge. In this case, Schiehallion scores highly. There is a trail almost to the top and if you walk on a clear day the views over Perthshire are breath-taking.
Where will you be visiting when you come to Scotland in 2014?